Downtown Commons

Buffalo, MN

American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota

In the 1990s the City of Buffalo began making improvements to its lakefront area adjacent to downtown, and in the past decade has established a vision for extending public space improvements to its downtown district. The Downtown Commons, which HKGi designed in collaboration with Bolton & Menk, extends those improvements southward, creating an inviting entry point into downtown and a new connection point to the shores of Buffalo Lake.

The Downtown Commons project transformed an unattractive, undeveloped site into an inviting urban park plaza that features a rainwater garden, seating with lake overlooks, an interactive fountain/splash pad, a multi-purpose plaza, entry signage, and arbors with shade trees and terraced lawns.

The Downtown Commons concept plan also anticipates potential future projects such as an intersection enhancement at Highway 25 and 1st Street, and a potential farmers’ market structure on the southern tip of the site.

The final concept plan also calls for creating pedestrian connections that invite people to stroll between the Commons and the downtown area. In addition to extending pavers, lighting, and other urban design materials from the Commons onto the adjacent block, adjacent downtown alleyways have been transformed into an art walk that uses paving elements, overhead signs, and other design features to tell the story of historic downtown Buffalo.